Reading Comprehension – Passage – This year alone, more than 8,600 stores

Reading Comprehension – Passage

The passage below is accompanied by a set of six questions. Choose the best answer to each question.
CAT 2017 - Forenoon slot - Reading Comprehension - Passage - This year alone, more than 8,600 stores
This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close, according to industry estimates, many of them the brand -name anchor outlets that real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court. Already there have been 5,300 retail closings this year… Sears Holdings—which owns Kmart—said in March that there’s “substantial doubt” it can stay in business altogether, and will close 300 stores this year. So far this year, nine national retail chains have filed for bankruptcy.

Local jobs are a major casualty of what analysts are calling, with only a hint of hyperbole, the retail apocalypse. Since 2002, department stores have lost 448,000 jobs, a 25% decline, while the number of store closures this year is on pace to surpass the worst depths of the Great Recession. The growth of online retailers, meanwhile, has failed to offset those losses, with the ecommerce sector adding just 178,000 jobs over the past 15 years. Some of those jobs can be found in the massive distribution centers Amazon has opened across the country, often not too far from malls the company helped shutter.

But those are workplaces, not gathering places. The mall is both. And in the 61 years since the first enclosed one opened in suburban Minneapolis, the shopping mall has been where a huge swath of middle-class America went for far more than shopping. It was the home of first jobs and blind dates, the place for family photos and ear piercings, where goths and grandmothers could somehow walk through the same doors and find something they all liked. Sure, the food was lousy for you and the oceans of parking lots encouraged car-heavy development, something now scorned by contemporary planners. But for better or worse, the mall has been America’s public square for the last 60 years.

So what happens when it disappears?

Think of your mall. Or think of the one you went to as a kid. Think of the perfume clouds in the department stores. The fountains splashing below the skylights. The cinnamon wafting from the food court. As far back as ancient Greece, societies have congregated around a central marketplace. In medieval Europe, they were outside cathedrals. For half of the 20th century and almost 20 years into the new one, much of America has found their agora on the terrazzo between Orange Julius and Sbarro, Waldenbooks and the Gap, Sunglass Hut and Hot Topic.

That mall was an ecosystem unto itself, a combination of community and commercialism peddling everything you needed and everything you didn’t: Magic Eye posters, wind catchers. Air Jordans. …

A growing number of Americans, however, don’t see the need to go to any Macy’s at all. Our digital lives are frictionless and ruthlessly efficient, with retail and romance available at a click. Malls were designed for leisure, abundance, ambling. You parked and planned to spend some time. Today, much of that time has been given over to busier lives and second jobs and apps that let you swipe right instead of haunt the food court. ‘ Malls, says Harvard business professor Leonard Schlesinger, “were built for patterns of social interaction that increasingly don’t exist.”


Q1) The central idea of this passage is that:

A) the closure of mails has affected the economic and social life of middle-class America
B) the advantages of malls outweigh their disadvantages.
C) malls used to perform a social function that has been lost
D) malls are closing down because people have found alternate ways to shop.

Q2) Why does the author say in paragraph 2, ‘the massive distribution centers Amazon has opened across the country, often not too far from malls the company helped shutter’?

A) To highlight the irony of the situation
B) To indicate that mails and distribution centres are located in the same area
C) To show that Amazon is helping certain brands go online
D) To indicate that the shopping habits of the American middle class have changed.

Q3) In paragraph 1, the phrase “real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court” suggests that they

A) took brand-name anchor outlets to court
B) no longer pursue brand-name anchor outlets
C) collaborated with one another to get brand-name anchor outlets
D) were eager to get brand-name anchor outlets to set up shop m their mall

Q4) The author calls the mall an ecosystem unto itself because

A) people of all ages and from all walks of life went there
B) people could shop as well as eat in one place
C) it was a commercial space as well as a gathering place.
D) it sold things that were needed as well as those that were not.

Q5) Why does the author say that the mall has been America’s public square?

A) Malls did not bar anybody from entering the space
B) Malls were a great place to shop for a huge section of the middle class
C) Malls were a hangout place where families grew close to each other
D) Malls were a great place for everyone to gather and interact.

Q6) The author describes ‘Perfume clouds in the department stores’ in order to

A) evoke memories by painting a. picture of mails
B) describe the smells and sights of mails
C) emphasise that all brands were available under one roof.
D) show that malls smelt good because of the various stores and food court.


Q1: Option (C)
Q2: Option (A)
Q3: Option (B)
Q4: Option (C)
Q5: Option (D)
Q6: Option (A)


Q1 Although the passage mentions the economic setback due to closing of malls, but it also says that some of these jobs can be found in the centres Amazon has opened. The main focus of CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage is the social function that malls used to perform which is losing itself.
Option C is the correct answer.

Q2 Through this statement of paragraph 2 of CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage, author clearly states the irony of the situation. While the malls are shutting down, Amazon is opening its distribution centres near to the malls. Option A is the correct answer.

Q3 After going through the CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage, we can infer that now that people prefer online shopping over going to malls, real estate developers have stopped fighting over brand – name anchor outlets. Option (B) is the right answer.

Q4 From paragraph 3 of CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage, we can see that along with being a commercial place, malls were also a gathering place. People from all sections of the society could come and enjoy themselves. Option (C) is the right answer.

Q5 Malls were not just a place for shopping, but they were also a place for people to just gather and interact as can be seen from paragraph 3 of CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage.

Q6 In paragraph 5 of CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension – Passage, the author is reminding people of the time when they were a kid and used to go to the mall by mentioning the smells. Option (A) is the right answer.

Download CAT 2017 Question Paper with answers and detailed solutions in PDF

CAT 2017 Questions from Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Despite their fierce reputation. Vikings may not have always been the plunderers and pillagers popular culture imagines them to be.
Reading Comprehension – Set 2: Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age.
Reading Comprehension – Set 3: The end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere: the shift to hybrid vehicles is already under way among manufacturers.
Reading Comprehension – Set 4: During the frigid season…it’s often necessary to nestle under a blanket to try to stay warm.
Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Creativity is at once our most precious resource and our most inexhaustible one.
Reading Comprehension – Set 6: Do sports mega events like the summer Olympic Games benefit the host city economically?
Reading Comprehension – Set 7: Scientists have long recognized the incredible diversity within a species. But they thought it reflected evolutionary changes that unfolded imperceptibly, over millions of years.
Reading Comprehension – Set 8: I used a smartphone GPS to find my way through the cobblestoned maze of Geneva’s Old Town, in search of a handmade machine that changed the world more than any other invention.
Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Understanding where you are in the world is a basic survival skill, which is why we, like most species come hard-wired with specialized brain areas to create congnitive maps of our surroundings.

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